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Re-post: An Exchange of Smiles at Walmart

Just Call Me Pastor - Tue, 02/25/2020 - 02:09

It was mid-afternoon and I was pushing my grocery cart toward the exit of Walmart when a middle-aged woman entering the store flashed me a big smile. I suddenly realized that I had been smiling at some pleasant thought and she must have thought I was smiling at her. Or perhaps she was just saying she was happy, too.

My observation is that not much smiling goes on in grocery stores. After all, there’s a lot to think about while shopping, like comparing the costs of two brands of paper towels or two different grades of eggs, or checking the calorie count of whole-grain Cheerios. And while you are doing all this, you have to make sure your grocery cart doesn’t get in the way of other shoppers.

(Someone should do a study about smiles in a grocery store. What percentage of shoppers smile at fellow shoppers in any one afternoon? What is most likely to prompt smiles? Do people who smile spend more or less money on average? Some pollster could figure out how to frame the questions. Anyhow, news reports citing such statistics would be a welcome relief from the poll results for presidential hopefuls we are treated to daily.)

Maybe an additional reason I don’t smile enough when I work my way down a shopping list in the grocery store is that grocery shopping is a relatively new experience for me. I’m still awkward at it. I’ve taken it up only since retiring and I’m not as patient and discriminating about it as Kathleen is. I sometimes bring the wrong thing home (like apple juice instead of apple cider vinegar).

Back when I was an assigned pastor I had a self-imposed rule that I would not run errands like grocery shopping during working hours. Some of my pastor friends thought this was too rigorous but I had a reason. During working hours I was on duty. I knew that the high-school principal couldn’t take time off during the day to slip away to a grocery store for a couple of items she forgot the night before. And the vice-president of the bank couldn’t slip out for half an hour to get a dozen eggs. These people were on duty. Why shouldn’t working pastors consider themselves on duty also?

It is true that a pastor’s work sometimes beckons during hours when others are finished for the day. Even so, it may not appear professional to parishioners that their pastor is pushing a shopping cart at 10 a.m.

The context of my self-imposed regulation during pastoral days was my strong work ethic — not a slavish one, not a compulsive one, but one exercised with a robust joy in making time count and in letting my people know that I took my assignment seriously.

That same thought brings me joy in setting myself a working schedule during retirement years — though one not so rigorous — and that may well be why I was smiling as I headed out of Walmart.

Photo credit: Rupert Taylor-Price (via flickr.com)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Modification Monday: Stag Head Cardigan

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 21:05


Original Pattern: Stag Head Pullover  Knitter Extraordinaire: Lily (Ravelry Profile) Mods: Revamped the pullover design to feature the cabled stag head on the back of a cabled cardigan instead. Great details and more photos can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: This is one of those jaw-dropping knits, isn’t it?

The post Modification Monday: Stag Head Cardigan appeared first on %%www.knittedbliss.com%%.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Playing at the World on Identifying Dice of the 1970s

Zenopus Archives - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 17:44

C. P. dice (front) versus Holmes Basic dice (back). Source: Playing at the World
Jon Peterson has a new video on YT up looking at the dice that were available for sale in the 1970s, and how to identify them:

Playing at the World Episode #2: Identifying 1970s Dice
It's a great video, rich with information, examples and period photos. There's an accompanying blog post with more photos and dice maps. See embedded link below.

In the video the Holmes Basic dice feature prominently as a starting point for Jon to look at the other less common dice of the '70s. I did not know that the Creative Publications dice set sold by TSR, seen here in their original packaging, can be distinguished from the later set shipped with Holmes Basic. The most prominent distinguishing feature is the color of the d6, pink in the CP set and orange-red in the Holmes set. I had previously attributed the color variations to lighting in photos.

Identifying the Dice of the 1970sHow can you recognize a polyhedral gaming die made in the 1970s? The video above gives my tips for collectors and researchers who want to roll old school. After the cut, I give a quick reference guide to identifying these dice.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

From Epic To Urban - The Uses of Lankhmar City of Adventure (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd Edition : Official Game Accessory) by Anthony Pryor For Your Old School Campaign

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 17:31
"LANKHMAR...city of thieves, city of the night, city of adventure. Home of Fritz Leiber's famous heroes, FAFHRD™ and the GRAY MOUSER™; greatest adventurers in the world of Nehwon. The city of Lankhmar springs to life as an exciting Setting for the AD&D® game.Visit the fabled Rainbow Palace, stroll the surly streets of the old town, haggle at the market place or risk the winding maze Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Top Comments – Pages 1373 – 1376

Looking For Group - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 15:11

Monday, YOU are the star! We curate our favourite comments from the previous week’s comments on lfg.co and Facebook and remind you how clever you are. I was away last week so here is a double-sized top comments for Looking […]

The post Top Comments – Pages 1373 – 1376 appeared first on Looking For Group.

Categories: Web Comics

Threshold Jr – Feb 26th – Gargon Pt 2!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 14:31

This week!

Gargon Pt 2
February 26th – Wednesday 7-9 pm
We turn out the lights and try to find the flashlight pieces to destroy the Gargon! We start a new faith based series on Jesus!

The week after that…

Threshold Jr Retreat
Fundraiser at Promise Keepers
March 7th **SATURDAY**
8:00 am-12:30 pm
We will be making sandwiches and selling food at the Promise Keepers event at COTR.
Everyone who comes will get a big discount ($50-80).
sign-up by email mathew@churchoftherock.ca

The week after that…

March 11th – Friday 7:11pm – 10pm

It’s not too hot and not too cold, perfect time to sled! We’ll have hot chocolate and sleds! But feel free to bring your own!


  Click here for this month’s calendar

The post Threshold Jr – Feb 26th – Gargon Pt 2! appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

High School Ministry – Feb 28th – Game Show Night!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 14:31

This week!

Game Show Night
February 28th- Friday 7:11-10:pm
We love to play game shows for prizes! This is your chance to win big! Join us!

The week after that…

Camp Fundraiser at P.K 
March 6th & 7th Friday & Saturday
Volunteering at the fundraiser will grant the student $50-80 off their cost!
The following shifts are needed.
1. Fri (5:30 pm -10:00 pm- 15 people)
2. Sat(8:00 am-12:30 pm-most help)
3. Sat(12:00 pm-4:30 pm-15 people)
EMAIL MATHEW at mathew@churchoftherock.ca

The week after that…

March 13th – Friday 7:11-10:pm
If its not too hot and not too cold, perfect time to sled! We’ll have hot chocolate and sleds! But feel free to bring your own!
Waivers HERE

Click here for this month’s calendar

The post High School Ministry – Feb 28th – Game Show Night! appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

How to Start a Sand War

Dungeoncomics - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 14:00
What are microprocessors made from? Transistors. What are transistors made from? Sand.

The Chalice of Blood

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 12:11
By Megan Irving Aegis Studios BGRPG Levels 5-6

A group of Ragnar cultists have found a magical relic, a chalice that can never be filled, and are using it to lure treasure hunters and adventurers to their lair. Foolish adventurers who take the bait and come to the lair are hunted by the monsters guarding the chalice, and are then sacrificed to Ragnar. Leftover bodies are then given to the wyvern lurking in the cavern’s depths. […] The chalice is a magical artifact – when liquid is poured into it, it vanishes. If the command word is spoken while tipping the chalice, any stored liquid pours freely out of it. Unfortunately, it’s currently full of blood, and nobody knows the command word.

This twelve page adventure contains a small twelve page dungeon described in about four or five pages. It’s doing several nice little things throughout to create an interesting environment, from the map to the encounters. Decent enough for a little dungeon.

“Cultists. Ug!” I thought to myself. But, wait, Bryce, don’t you like human enemies? Yeah, but why the fuck are they are always cultists? But, what if they had a slightly different twist? And thus Megan wrote this adventure.

The cultists here are craven little shits. To quote “Overall, the cultists prefer not to fight. Instead, they beg for mercy and give the adventurers as much information as they want.” Also, it gets the adventurers to go deeper in where they’ll get killed, solving their problem. But, still, there are cultists begging for mercy all over the place, hiding under their desks, pleading, acting badass and then collapsing at the first sign of blood. It’s cute. I like it. It adds a good roleplay element to the adventure and dungeon could just about always always use some of that. After all, you can always stab them later.

Speaking of, there are several decent little roleplay things going on. The guards outside, if approached, ask the party to leave. And then they stab the shit out of the party if they do so, but, hey, are you seriously trusting two bugbear guards? Inside there are some crmag slaves too talk to. One little room has a guard room of slaves sitting around a campfire. I imagine they do everything possible to NOT see the party. That could be quite fun. It’s nice to see this in the adventure. Not comic elements but elements that get the party ENGAGED in the adventure rather than just another room of things to kill and loot. 

The map makes an extra effort. Differing levels, flowstone stairs, tunnels, different elevations, even a simple loop or two. And … it’s got monsters marked on it! Just a simple icon to show which rooms have monsters, so you can react them as appropriate to combat next door. And, speaking of, there are roaming patrols and a simple order of battle for the place. Nothing too complex, easily implemented, and just enough to add some realism without it being simulationist. 

This sort of extra little design is present in a couple of areas also. The wilderness encounters, on the way to the dungeon, stand out. This part is handled in some very short text. It tells that that the party passes through three general types of terrain and they will have a wandering encounter in each … and then a four entry table is provided … not all of which has to be combat depending on how the party handles this. The terrain and journey proper is handled through some overview text, such as “The Plains: Where many of their previous adventures have likely taken place – a vast plain of small hills and brush. At first glance, it seems empty, but behind every bush or hill is something strange – two goblin scouts working on a trap, a ruined village full of undead villagers, bandits arguing with younger adventurers.” That’s it. I must say that if you are not going to have a full on wilderness part to your adventure then the format here is quite nice. Some little comments for the DM to add a little extra flavour to the parties adventure if they want to and a wandering table that recognizes the linearity/quantum aspects of the adventure type. There’s no disconnect here of having a twenty entry table over two pages of which nineteen will never get used. Given the design choices made the degree of text makes sense. And I don’t even mean that in a backhanded compliment way. I think it’s a fine way to handle an overland if you don’t want to include a full on one. It’s good.

Magic items are nice also. The one that stands out is a little bone circlet fetish, near ogres. It lets you cast darkness once a day and recharges at midnight. Nice theming there, both with the crude construction bone fetish thing tie in to the ogres and to the darkness recharging at midnight. Another example is some cromags having a rough stone circlet amulet things with a hole in the center for a thong. The magic items kind of theme in well with where you find them and what they do. And they do it without droning on for a paragraph. And since I’m on rewards I’ll mention a “conclusion” award. If the party frees the cromag slaves then they will spread the word and in some hour of need a mighty cromag warrior will show up to help the party. That’s the kind of end of adventure boon I can get behind. It fits in well, is non-mechanical (ug: gold rewards at the end) and it doesn’t enforce morality so much as kind of deal in consequences for actions. There’s no promise, but good returns on itself. A good boon reward. 

The descriptions of the encounters are generally ok, or at least start ok. Nice and brief, flavourful. The DM text (ok, it’s all DM text, but, rather, the “further details” text) does get a little wonky. It looks like Aegis has some kind of house publishing style that is bolding certain things, like “2 potions of healing”, IE: the common magic item bolding format. Better, I think to bold keywords in a section/paragraph to let the DM know what that little blob of text is about then to bold something meaningless like treasure. This might be the major fault of the adventure, as well, perhaps, as being a bit of a reach of having cultists, bugbears, ogres, cromags, and a wyvern all running around in a 12 room dungeon. IE: the pretext could be just a bit better. But … we’re now pretty much in the realm of that elusive fourth pillar of adventures: holistic design.

Decent little adventure. I would not think shitty thoughts if I were asked at the last minute to run it at a con. The … pretext? Around the mixed monsters is a little light and the DM text a bit wonky in places, and that’s making me ask the question about regerts. This adventure isn’t life changing but it is a solid one. Again, I wouldn’t bitch if I had to run it. That means The best, I think.

This is $2 at DriveThru. There’ no preview. PUT IN A PREVIEW!!!


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Talislanta: The Sarista of Silvanus

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 12:00
French Talislanta artThe Silvanus woodland of Talislanta is primarily home to the Sarista. They are clearly inspired at least to a degree by stereotypes of the Romani people, in fact, they are often called gypsies in the various texts, so it's not subtle.

Tamerlin's account tells us they are "a nomadic race of indistinct origin," and they are of "slender proportions" and have "skin the color of rich topaz, dark eyes and jet black hair." (Again with the topaz skin! I suspect their origins to be Phaedran, then whatever the mystery.) They tend to dress in a gaudy, ostentatious, or seductive way (their clothing sounds theatrical, to me), and they are known as "folk healers, fortune tellers and performers--or as mountebanks, charlatans, and tricksters."

These things are stable across all editions of Talislanta, with only minor differences in the text. Sarista have the distinction of having had a supplement devoted to them in the third edition, and are also otherwise fleshed out in the deuterocanonical Cyclopedia Volume IV. That work reveals the Sarista to be the descendants of criminals, witches, and various nonconformists that fled Phaedra when the Orthodixists took over. It also suggests that Saristan fools are called Rodinns after the ancient wizard.

"Let them scoff as they see fit! I will never compromise what I consider my art, especially for the sake of gain!" 
"For the sake of gain I’d compromise the art of my grandmother,” muttered Zamp under his breath. 
 - Jack Vance, Showboat World

I think I would de-emphasize the "gypsy" aspect of the Sarista, and certainly dispense with distasteful stereotypes like child-stealing, to portray them as perhaps less an ethnicity and more a vocation or society. The texts mention that the Silvanus Wood isn't conquered by the Aamanians because its the kind of playground/preserve of the nobility of Zandu. Sarista are part theater troupe, part carny. They make their living traveling the forest circuit performing for their mostly Zandu visitors, and fleecing the rubes as they can. Sure, some may be outright thieves, but not near so many as the texts suggest--that's just prejudicial slander.


Looking For Group - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 05:00

The post 1377 appeared first on Looking For Group.

Categories: Web Comics

Doctor Who: ‘Ascension of the Cybermen’ Twitter Reactions (Spoilers)

Blogtor Who - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 21:39

The Cybermen have ascended. The Doctor and her fam have run away a lot. The mystery of the Boundary has revealed itself as an even bigger mystery. And, frankly, God alone knows what 1950s Ireland has to do with any of it. But what did the Cyber Hive-Mind Twitter make of it?   Kippy notes […]

The post Doctor Who: ‘Ascension of the Cybermen’ Twitter Reactions (Spoilers) appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

SPOILERS Doctor Who: Ascension of the Cybermen – Blogtor Who’s Initial Reactions – Clever, Powerful and Exciting

Blogtor Who - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 21:33

The Lone Cyberman returned to battle the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her companions Graham (Bradley Walsh), Ryan (Tosin Cole) and Yaz (Mandip Gill) in tonight’s episode.   So what did the Blogtor Who team think about tonight’s exciting event? PLEASE NOTE THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD Susan Hewitt Chris Chibnall, James Stone, Jodie Whittaker and the rest […]

The post SPOILERS Doctor Who: Ascension of the Cybermen – Blogtor Who’s Initial Reactions – Clever, Powerful and Exciting appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

REVIEW: Doctor Who: ‘Ascension of the Cybermen’ – A Mishmash of Cyber-goodness

Blogtor Who - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 21:10

Following last week’s episode, expectations were high for the penultimate episode of Doctor Who Series 12. Could ‘Ascension of the Cybermen‘ live up to the hype? THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS SO DO NOT READ ON IF YOU WISH TO AVOID THEM! (Here’s a picture. Scroll beyond it for the review.) After a slightly bemusing start […]

The post REVIEW: Doctor Who: ‘Ascension of the Cybermen’ – A Mishmash of Cyber-goodness appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

The War of the Worlds Godzilla 1898! - A Troll Lord Games Victorious rpg Campaign Set Up

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 18:43
"No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that human affairs were being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their affairs they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Nick Cuti (October 29, 1944 – February 21, 2020)

First Comics News - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 16:40

Legendary comic creator Nicola Cuti, whose career has spanned over fifty years, has died.

Sources close to the family have reported that Cuti passed in Tampa on Friday, February 21, 2020, after a battle with cancer. He was surrounded by family and close friends, including his daughter, Jaymee, brother, Emil, and his business partner and friend, Nakoma DeMitro.

Known to everyone as “Nick”, Cuti was born October 29, 1944. He served in the United States Air Force for four years. It was during this time that his first works were published.

An artist and comic and science-fiction writer and editor, he is best known as a co-creator of Moonchild the Starbabe and superhero E-Man, a series he worked on with his dear friend, Joe Staton. Other creations of his included Captain Cosmos, Brightstar, and Starflake the Cosmic Sprite. During his career, he worked alongside legends such as Wally Wood, Stan Lee, and Bill Black, founder of AC Comics. His works were featured in Charlton Comics, Warren Publishing, DC Comics, and Marvel Comics. He contributed to famous franchises such as Vampirella, Popeye, and Creepy Magazine.

In addition to his work in the comic industry, Cuti also worked in many productions for Disney, Universal Studios, and Sony Pictures as an animation background designer. Some of the shows he worked on included Gargoyles, 101 Dalmatians, and The Critic.

He was twice awarded the Warren’s Ray Bradbury Award and was also awarded the Inkpot Award at the San Diego Comic Con for his career achievements. He was a fixture at many conventions including the Tampa Bay Comic Con and Spooky Empire in Orlando. He has been a special guest at the San Diego Comic Con and Infinity Comic Con, where he was asked to create the badge. He was scheduled to be a guest at Sci-Fy Bartow in Tampa and Mega Con in Orlando this year.
Cuti’s hobbies included being an amateur magician, an avid reader, and a huge space exploration supporter.

Cuti was a loyal and devoted father, son, brother and friend. He is survived by his daughter Jaymee Cuti, of Portland, Ore., brother, Emil Cuti of New Port Richey, Fla, Great-Aunt Lee Sica of Holiday, Fla, and many cousins. He will be deeply missed by family, friends, colleagues and fans.

He was 75

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Doctor Who S12E8 – The Haunting of Villa Diodati

First Comics News - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 16:19

Doctor Who
Season 12, Episode 8 – The Haunting of Villa Diodati
Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor in Doctor Who.
Ryan (Tosin Cole), Yasmin (Mandip Gill) and Graham (Bradley Walsh) as the companions.
Producer: Adam Friedlander
Director: Emma Sullivan
Written by: Maxine Alderton
Airs Sunday, 2/16/20 from 9:10pm ET Guest starring: Lili Miller, Nadia Parkes, Jacob Collins-Levy, Maxim Baldry and Lewis Rainer
Run Time: 49 min, 58 sec
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Website: twitter.com/bbcdoctorwho
Comments: Lord Byron and Mary Wollstonecraft and some friends spend a stormy night together. The Lord begins a tale of terror. A knocking at the door brings a scare and a laugh.
The Doctor and her companions pop into when Frankenstein was written. The mansion is a dark and foreboding place. Something wicked prowls the halls of the mansion.
What is going on inside this house? Is it haunted? Things start happening and fast. Something is playing with people’s minds.
Something totally unexpected is behind it all. The Doctor’s encounter with it turns violent. This solder is almost unstoppable.
The Doctor has a Vulcan Mind Meld ability. This is new. She also has a Vulcan Death grip.
The battle here is an epic one for the future. Sometimes even the Doctor can not win. Well in the first part but round two. The first round here moves a little too slowly after the initial action.
The Doctor even gets a poem written about her. Well, she is one unique woman unlike anyone else in existence. No one is even close.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Mac Raboy Master of the Comics

First Comics News - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 16:16

Title: Mac Raboy Master of the Comics (HC)
Publisher: TwoMorrows Publishing
Writer: Roger Hill
Artist/Cover Art: Mac Raboy
Price: Print $ 39.95 US, Digital $ 14.95 US
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Website: http://www.twomorrows.com
Comments: Mac Raboy was one of the greats in comic books and comic strips. His art was truly amazing. He drew Captain Marvel Jr., Flash Gordon, Dr. Voodoo, Zoro, Green Lama, Mystery Man. Bullet Man and Spy Smasher.
Manual Raboy later called Mac started drawing as a young boy. He did start working as an artist and eventually got into the comic book field. When you see his art it is very detailed and the colors are outstanding. The Green Lama was one of his first characters to work on.
This book is jam-packed with Mac Raboy’s art. The more you see of it the more you realize just how talented he was. He was the first to draw Captain Marvel Jr. We see lots of Golden Age super-heroes in these pages.
Mac was emotional about his art. As Captain Marvel Jr. became a success Mac needed help and he got it to get the books out on time. Other artists would do backgrounds for him or even help out on characters.
There are interviews within this book with comic book talent who knew Mac best. Everyone seems to agree he was a great artist but a slow one. He produced wonderful works of art from the Golden Age of comics. Even his son is interviewed.
The Green Lama was some of his finest work. He also worked on the Flash Gordon comic strip. His work will be remembered.
Mac Raboy did art his way slow and meticulous and beautifully rendered.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


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